Intrusive images and voluntary memory for affective pictures: contextualization and dual-task interference

Julie Krans, Oliver Langner, Andrea Reinecke, David G Pearson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Background and objectives: The present study addressed the role of context information and dual-task interference during the encoding of negative pictures on intrusion development and voluntary recall.
Methods: Healthy participants were shown negative pictures with or without context information. Pictures were either viewed alone or concurrently with a visuospatial or verbal task. Participants reported their intrusive images of the pictures in a diary. At follow-up, perceptual and contextual memory was
Results: Participants in the context group reported more intrusive images and perceptual voluntary memory than participants in the no context group. No effects of the concurrent tasks were found on intrusive image frequency, but perceptual and contextual memory was affected according to the
cognitive load of the task.
Limitations: The analogue method cannot be generalized to real-life trauma and the secondary tasks may differ in cognitive load.
Conclusions: The findings challenge a dual memory model of PTSD but support an account in which retrieval strategy, rather than encoding processes, accounts for the experience of involuntary versus voluntary recall.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)418-425
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


  • intrusive memory
  • voluntary memory
  • cognitive load
  • analogue trauma


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